Avery and Jacob came up the path about an hour after Avery had gone to look for him. Peanut started growling and I looked up to see Jacob smiling at me, "See Missy, I told you I was his brother."
I looked at Avery and he said, "Rachel, this is my brother Jacob. Jacob this is my wife, Rachel."
Jacob put out his hand and I had no choice but to extend mine to him. He took it heartily and shook it a little hard for me."Sorry Missy,.....I mean Rachel. I haven't shook a woman's hand in a long time." He looked down and removed his hat.
Avery said, "Oh that's okay, Jacob. Rachel can handle it."
I looked at how dirty Jacob was and said, "Jacob, I am heating water for a bath for you right now." I glanced at Avery and said, "Avery, could you get some of your clothes for him to wear? I will wash what he has and see if I can fix them. In the meantime he needs something to wear and something warm. These clothes are not warm enough for winter."
"Oh no Rachel, I can just clean up a bit. I don't need any fancy duds," he started to protest.
"It is no trouble Jacob. You need a bath. After you bathe then we can eat. I have food cooking now."
He looked at me and said, "I can smell the food. Smells mighty good. Let's eat it now."
I shook my head, "No Jacob. Bathe first. Food afterwards. Besides the food is still cooking. There is plenty of time for your bath first."
He started to say something but I looked at him and said, "That is all there is to say about it." I pulled the copper tub out of the closet where I kept it, and grabbed some towels and a new bar of my lye soap. "Here, this is what you'll need. Avery, go get those clothes now please."
Avery turned to Jacob, "Rachel is pretty much in charge in the house here. You will learn to do what she says. She is a wonderful cook! Wait until you taste her pot roast. I'll be right back." And he went to get the clothes.
I checked the water on the stove, and Jacob said to me, "Rachel, I am sorry for what happened down at the wagon. I didn't mean anything if I said anything to make you mad at me."
"That's okay Jacob. I just didn't know that Avery had a brother and you startled me."
"So we can be friends?" he looked at me and smiled.
"Yes, we can be friends."
I went into the other room while he bathed and Avery put his clothes on a chair in the kitchen. I fed Benjamin and then Avery came and sat beside us. I was waiting for him to tell me about his brother. "Rachel, I know you don't understand why no one, or especially me, never told you about Jacob."
"No, I don't understand at all, Avery." I was acting cool toward him because I was a little mad that I didn't know about Jacob. That made me look like a fool.
"He left home a long time ago. We never heard from him again."
"So no one ever even mentions him? That seems strange to me. After all he is your brother. Your parents are his parents. Why doesn't anyone mention him?"
"My father and him had a falling out and he left with bad feelings. They never spoke of him after that."
"What did he do that was so bad?" I couldn't imagine Father being that mad at my brothers no matter what they did.
"I don't rightly know. I was younger. I didn't dare ask any questions."
"Well, I guess we will have to let him stay with us for a spell? It doesn't look like he has any money or anywhere to go."
"I was going to ask you about that. If you would mind. I feel like I have to let him stay with us or he could freeze to death. Looks like a blizzard is coming on."
I looked at Avery. He seemed much better. "Are you feeling stronger now? Do you think you can eat solid food tonight?"
He nodded, "I feel better. Feel much stronger. My appetite is back and I am hungering for more than food."
"Avery! Your brother might hear!"
He laughed. "Tonight we are sleeping in our own room. Let Jacob sleep on that little bed in here. The guest room still doesn't have a proper bed."
"What about the food? I made a venison roast. Do you think you can eat it or will it be too painful? I can make some of it into a stew or soup for you."
"I will eat it. I am tired of soups, stews and puddings. Your venison roast sounds good!"
I smiled knowing how Avery loved my cooking and knowing that both of them would love this roast. I could tell that Jacob was very hungry. So I made a lot of food for supper. I was quite happy to have my husband back in control again.
I am a little uneasy about Jacob. He seems so different from Avery I can hardly believe they are brothers. Maybe after I get to know him it will be different but he looks at me in a way that I don't think I like. I hope it is just my imagination as Avery seems glad to have him here. I will make the best of it for a few days and then he will be gone and we can get back to our normal life again.
Copyright © 2010 Kathleen G. Lupole